CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Five Poems
Nadia Herman Colburn




Weightlessness

In the box there was no beginning and no end, but an openness stopped on all sides by the edges. We built it with wood and painted it. And all along there was the future. Which had no one direction. And which, in the box, would never arrive at any one particular. See? Things as they are meant to be. The questions I do not happen to ask.

But there: Let it be your hand that brings me back. Your form in my arms. (While outside the olive trees stand, smaller than should be, their trunks with the hollows that show a growthless past—








What May Be Enough

I was giving myself over to work. The certain requirements. The way one space fit inside another.

And I was giving myself over to the small spaces no-between: that the words were simple. Seamless. That all winter was wintering. And not the question. And when it came: oh virtual. Land of the very-seen: how even the hills were conspirators.

And all the quiet places brought: and green








The Physical World

When I looked out the window, there was the opposite house, not lit by sun, and the trees all dead-like cut by the frame. And we were lying there trying to keep ourselves. Trying to keep the other. And the other trying to keep the other that was just the same, with some little variation. And the brown shingle. And the brown shingle next to it.

Place here, then. What no one says. Turn here, then, to me as to an invention.
What no one thinks. Simply be.
And all that going. With the world in-latched. Of itself-born.

And the boxes. The little boxes. Each one just the same, with some modulation. And in the boxes little partitions. And in the partitions, littler partitions. And there, in one, a bird.








What I Am Allowed

And I came to the one that was the body. And I came to the door that was painted white. And let myself in. In through the light. In through the small occasion. The mouth. The eyes. And settled. And I tried to settle. There: I: I. And sometimes I, a stone. And over stone, the sky.








On the Possibility of Order

i

As if carved out: the space
where a being might lie down, re-arranged.
(Line touching line touching line touching line).
Four points at the four corners.
Where nothing penetrates.

ii

Closed off, as not even the deepest forest in the most lush days of summer,
as not even the edge of the rock-lined lake,
with intent, as not even the cat who cleans herself, who walks so assuredly
along the edge of the balcony, who tilts back her ears
at the call of the cardinal—leaps—as not even she,
with her wise, her elegant eyes, would, of her own, trace—

iii

Nor sky: the unimprovised place of
sky: along the field’s horizon,
singular, not joined one to another just the same.
So everywhere: the inescapable escape—
the branches’ thin delicate fingers reaching out as if to embrace
the air that everywhere everywhere, once touched, is away.

iv

But with what the human can make,
I enter, then re-enter.
Then shut the door to this well-ordered space
into which I fold first one limb
and then another, then the four chambered heart
as in the long rectangular mirror
that is the image at once of all that is wrong and right.
For it is fullness, don’t you see,
this border where the wood has been sanded and planed,
nailed on with the little nails that do not break—